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Stead escapes Robins axe
SIMON Stead has escaped the axe after convincing Swindon Robins boss Alun Rossiter to stick by him during crunch talks over the weekend.
The Yorkshireman has struggled for form in recent weeks, scoring only 11 points from his last four Elite League meetings, forcing boss Rossiter to spend the weekend heavily contemplating Stead’s future at the Abbey Stadium.
Talks were always planned between the pair, with Rossiter keen for Stead to convince him he deserved to keep his place in the team.
But Stead’s removal from the team was a real possibilty, with two potential replacements identified and a re-declared side prepared ahead of Thursday’s meeting with Poole in case the Robins boss opted to make the change.
The new line-up was not due to be made public until yesterday, and only if Rossiter was not happy with Stead’s response, but it was leaked on Friday, alerting a number of other clubs to Stead’s potential availability.
As soon as the news became public Rossiter contacted his rider, and after a weekend of crisis talks with the 30-year-old and those close to him, the Robins boss was convinced that Stead will find his form and play a part in the Robins’ push for the Elite League title.
“We did look at some options, but as long as I got the right vibes back from Simon I was happy to stick with him,” Rossiter said.
“He is not scoring points at tracks he should be scoring points like at Peterborough and Coventry, and that is what led me to question his place, not his performances at tracks he doesn’t enjoy like Eastbourne or Lakeside.
“He has got to improve, and he knows that, because he quite simply underperformed this season. “We all know how popular Simon is, but he needs to back it up with his performances and he hasn’t done that this season.
“He has had a lot on his plate recently with his testimonial and other things, but that is gone now and he is making some changes to his set-up and personnel and he is confident he can improve.
“He totally convinced me and now he needs to prove it, this is over and done with and there will be no awkwardness, there will be no treading on egg shells, and we will all get on with things.”
Rossiter’s actions regarding Stead’s future were purely motivated by his desire to bring success to his hometown club, and the Robins boss will not guarantee any of his riders’ places between now and the end of the season.
“I have to do what is best for the club, the fans, and the sponsors, and even if I did make a change who says it is going to work, but with the play-offs coming up it was important to look at things,” he said.
“My motivation is bringing silverware to Swindon Robins, and I will not apologise for that because I will do everything I can to make us successful, but not at any cost like some have suggested.
“All of the riders need to perform, and if a change needs to be made I will make it, because that is what you have to do if you are going to be successful.”